How to: Vegan Living – Tips and Tricks for vegan interior

A cold foam mattress, a wooden frame containing no animal glue, fabrics made from vegetable fibres – now that’s a vegan bed.

Eating vegan food has become mainstream, while furnishing according to vegan principles is currently up-and-coming. And given the wealth of alternatives, avoiding leather, silk or sheep’s wool is not all that difficult.

Roughly one million people in Germany eat a vegan diet and according to the latest estimates, this number is increasing at the rate of 200 per day. The fact that a growing number of global celebrities such as Miley Cirus, Natalie Portman, Demi Moore, Russell Brand, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leonardo DiCaprio or Johnny Depp also avoid eating food of animal origin is certainly one of the contributing factors. Kaya Yanar, Hannes Jaenicke, Nena and Christoph Maria Herbst are just a few of the like-minded celebrities in Germany. In 2011, Patrik Baboumian, a less famous but all the more powerful vegan, even won the title of “Germany’s Strongest Man”.

Vegan food, vegan furnishings
Generally, people who decide to give up eating animal products are motivated by ethical reasons, rather than simply concerns about their health. The underlying motivation is that no animal should have to suffer to provide their food. Then people also start taking a critical look at their homes. Is it still all right to have that leather sofa and those silk cushions with the down filling? After all, if I only eat vegan food, shouldn’t I only have vegan furnishings as well?

There are many items of furniture and decorative objects that contain animal products. Some cases are obvious, like leather sofas or woollen carpets, while the use of animal by-products is less discernible in other articles, such as wall paint. Even wooden furniture is frequently not vegan, since it is held together by glue made from animal bones.

Alternatives are easily found

High-quality imitation leather instead of leather

Cotton, linen or microfibre instead of wool

Synthetic fibres or a natural fibre called kapok instead of down

Cold foam instead of padding

Jute, sisal, viscose or cotton instead of woollen carpets

Soya or rapeseed wax instead of beeswax

It is interesting to note that product designers have already started to cater for the special requirements of vegetarians and vegans, focusing on an area of the house that is particularly important to these groups – the kitchen. After all, people who focus more on vegetables and herbs have to take a different approach to preparing and cooking their food. This insight has inspired the furniture manufacturer Team 7 to collaborate with Gaggenau, Cosentino, Franke and Dornbracht to develop a new type of kitchen. As the name “Vooking” already indicates, this concept kitchen opens up a realm of exciting possibilities. One of which is having a dedicated wok gas burner as a standard piece of kitchen equipment.

Furniture stores offer new collections
Once you take a closer look, it’s actually not that difficult to find furniture, fixtures and decorations that contain no animal products at all. To make things even easier, furniture stores have started to assemble their own collections of such items, such as the Switch range from Höffner. It’s merely a matter of time until furniture stores will have departments dedicated solely to products of this kind, just as supermarkets now have separate shelves of vegan goods.

But what about all the pieces of non-vegan furniture you already have in your home? You should use them for as long as possible and then replace them with vegan alternatives. This is the best way of honouring the pain animals were forced to go through at the beginning of the production chain.

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